Tribunal into Flintshire councillor’s alleged misconduct resumes

Reporter:

Andrew Boyd

A TRIBUNAL relating to the alleged misconduct of a councillor resumed yesterday.

Mostyn councillor Patrick Heesom appeared before the adjudication panel at St David’s Park Hotel, Ewloe, standing accused of six breaches of the councillors’ Code of Conduct.

One of the allegations concerns Cllr Heesom’s conduct towards Flintshire Council’s former director of community services, Susan Lewis, who made a written request for early retirement in March 2009 at the same time as the authority’s complaint to the Ombudsman was compiled.

Michael Murphy, leading the respondent case, told the tribunal Colin Everett, Flintshire’s chief executive, would have not wanted Ms Lewis to take any claim against the council over the manner of her departure and he would have preferred the Ombudsman’s complaint against Cllr Heesom to be made.

He said: “Susan Lewis was appointed under Colin Everett’s own delegated powers.

“If it was going to cost the council hundreds of thousands of pounds due to an employment claim, Colin Everett was not going to look good over that.”

Mr Murphy added he was aware that Cllr Heesom had not agreed with Ms Lewis’ appointment by Mr Everett and there had been criticisms by established councillors over her ability to handle the role.

Much of the day’s proceedings concerned a complaint by Mr Murphy that the tribunal had been prejudiced by a failure of disclosure of evidence.

Mr Murphy raised his concerns over new evidence appearing in documents that he said he had not been aware of when cross-examining previous witnesses.

The tribunal continues.

- FLINTSHIRE Council could take out insurance to cover members’ expensive legal costs.

Bosses could pay £3,286 a year – or £41.08 per all elected independent and co-opted members of the council - to cover the cost of tribunals.

The cover is based on a £50,000 limit of indeminity.

The matter was deferred at a meeting of the full council yesterday.

See full story in the Leader

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